Galeria Qahili celebrates its opening
Galeria Qahili celebrates its opening
For 7 years now Galeria Qahili served as a space of ideas, creativity, art, and a place where people are gathered to celebrate the creative process, to mark artistic freedom, and to celebrate the unique connection between creative production and artistic consumption. It is the house of art that welcomed eminent artworks of national and international artists.
Night of the opening of Galeria Qahili 6 May 2013
Just outside of Prishtina, in a quiet and very modern area Galeria Qahili is situated, an independent art gallery that opened on 6 May 2013 to serve as a place for artistic freedom in Kosovo. Since the gallery has been found by the Qahili family itself, the opening of the gallery was followed hence representing artworks of the artist, Eshref Qahili. These artworks reflected on his artistic career with a special emphasis on his sketches, paintings, drawings, and sculptures. In addition, this exhibition paved the way for the promotion of other artists who would become part of the new art history in Kosovo.
6 May 2013 – Qahili family and Luan Mulliqi during the opening ceremony of Galeria Qahili
7 years after its opening, Galeria Qahili has hosted over 38 exhibitions contributing to the promotion and development of the artistic community, culture, and art. Through these activities throughout the years, Galeria Qahili has tackled various social themes that have had an impact not only on the artistic community but also on the overall society. These topics have been developed as a collaboration with curators and artists who have been inspired to create and have further developed their concepts, activities through their point of view. Sweets, satire, global warming, human behaviour, the collective memory of specific periods are some of the topics that have been treated from artists themselves, yet influenced the creation of criticism and public artistic opinion. Above all, this influence has helped to merge cultures that support the process of celebrating similarities, which is also the factor that brings these different groups together.
One of the activities that reflected in the celebration of cultural and traditional similarities was the “Echo of artists without Borders”. The first and second edition was called “Artists Without Borders”. These first two editions were organized in Presheva Valley, with more than 40 artists participating who gave life to the city through their artistic creation for two consecutive years. In this activity – this mini-residency, rules were broken and the message was given that art and artists do not necessarily acknowledge borders. During the first edition, Kujtim Buza claimed in a documentary produced by Mumin Jashari that “a bouquet of flowers to Presheva” was given. But, “a bouquet of flowers to Presheva” was not only an expression. It came to life through Kujtim Buza’s artworks where a divine peisage is depicted that is followed by the positivity of this valley through the colours and brush strokes in canvas. This activity changed its route of operation and was organized in Prishtina, at the space of the gallery as well as other open and public spaces in the city center.
Throughout the years, different collective exhibitions were organized at Galeria Qahili, each embraced various forms of exhibiting and gathering art. Compared to the others, the White Shadows is that collective activity that is emblematic for Galeria Qahili. Collective exhibitions that were organized within the “White Shadows” exhibition held in 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2018 with over 300 participants left a mark in the art history of Kosovo. The first edition of the White Shadows was also the third activity of Galeria Qahili resounding success in the city and region where over 120 artists from all over the world were gathered where over 200 artworks were exhibited. As there was a price given to the winning artists, the winning artist was voted by participating artists themselves. The price, which was supported by the company Pronto and Iliria College was given to Agron Mulliqi. The tradition of gathering a large number of artists continued, but always making changes be that the concept, art medium, or even small details that make the activity unique every year.
Meanwhile, in the 2018 edition, “White Shadows” merged literature with visual art where a dichotomy was created between the two most important artistic fields in the country and hence bringing a revolutionary spirit beyond the conventions of art-making.
In addition to promoting the freedom of art in Kosovo, Galeria Qahili hosted activities that promoted the Albanian history and culture. The retrospective exhibition of the collection of the Buza family of the artist Abdurrahim Buza, followed the story of the development of art in Albania during the period of the communist regime where artistic freedom was only a myth. A large and very valuable collection was presented, and above all art pieces that had not been shown before. These works were created during the time when Buza was only a student and which journey of his life helped him to create his personality as an artist; This personality is characterized by compositions, figures, portraits, and landscapes. According to Kujtim Buza, his son and an artist himself, these works were the same works he showed to his friends. The Buza family had now decided to share 60 years of creativity on the occasion of his 110th birthday.
Another cultural heritage story was told through the exhibition of the personal collection of the artist Nexhmi Bardhi where national clothes preserved for years, which conveys a legacy of over 100 years were exhibited. This exhibition was called ‘Aura’ as each garment of this collection evokes identity, authority and belongs to a certain period of time. Excerpts from the concept:
‘Superstition! Aesthetics and colors that give life to details. Details that convey and retransmit the culture and traditions of a country. It is these elements that Bardhi’s collection contains. A collection entitled ‘Aura’ that captures the ideology of sociologist Benjamin. Collection that contains an identity, authority and belongs to a period of time. A large number of ethnographic elements represent different periods of Kosovo’s territory. Details that make a culture evolve:
A culture! ‘
‘Aura’ exhibition – Bardhi
Traveling through art was the main focus of another activity: ’90’s Kids’. These personal exhibitions gathered 7 artists which through their creativity shared the experiences, memories and recollections gone through during the 90s. Excerpts from the concept of the exhibition:
‘This whole exhibition is a story,
A reflection of memory,
History, experience, and perspectives of a certain period,
A bright and gloomy period.
It is attention dedicated to the 90s period,
It’s our story,
It’s our reality!’
The 90s kids exhibition – opening reception
Apart from exhibitions of local artists such as Eshref Qahili, Nehat Beqiri, Mustafa Arapi, Laureta Vinca Mulliqi, Zana Ramadani, Jeta Kalaveshi, Veli Blakçori, Nexhmi Bardhi, Mentor Avdili, Mirjeta Qehaja etc., Galeriia Qahili hosted exhibitions of international artists as well like Umit Inatci and Senih Cavusoglu from Cyprus, Elizabeth Marran and Joyce Conlon from the USA, Betül Burnaz from Turkey, Monika Kropshofer from Germany etc …
In 2019, Galeria Qahili continued to expand its field of activity with the development of a digital art database. Databaza.art is the first art database in Kosovo, containing basic career information of our artists. This database is still in the early stages of development and includes information for visual arts artists only. Meanwhile, during the next phases, it will include artists from different artistic and cultural fields. This digital platform was created for the overall art community, researchers or simply for all those who are interested in the history of art in Kosovo.
Recently, Galeria Qahili started the newest project: ‘Quarantine in Colours’ which aims to promote artworks created during quarantine time as a result of the COVID-19 virus. ‘Quarantine in Colours’ will include the works of all professional artists, art lovers, or simply those who wish to express their undiscovered artistic talent in an album-exhibition on the online pages of Galeria Qahili. Although this project coincided with the period when Galeria Qahili celebrated its 7th anniversary, it’s primary objective is raising awareness of the benefits that come from art therapy and their positive impact on the psychological, emotional, and physical well-being of all, which is very important lately especially during isolation time.
Hoping that soon we will all come together for our next activities, Galera Qahili will continue its journey towards inclusion, development, and artistic awareness.
written by: Rrita Reka & Nita Qahili